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MSc Fusion Energy

Push the boundaries of science in the quest for limitless clean energy

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

Online Open Day

Join us on Wednesday 5 June 2024 to find out what postgraduate study at York is all about. 

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Research into fusion is entering an exciting new era, with several large facilities aiming to achieve the crucial milestone of net energy gain.

To create sustained fusion reactions, fusion fuel must be heated to 100 million degrees. The fuel is rapidly converted to plasma, which is extremely difficult to confine and control. New international facilities using high-energy lasers and superconducting magnets are crucial steps on the way to reliable fusion energy, but there are still many challenges to overcome.

This MSc will prepare you to address these challenges. You will be introduced to the skills in computational and experimental plasma physics, and conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of physicists at the York Plasma Institute.

You'll have unrivalled opportunities to interact with world-class international fusion scientists, making the MSc in Fusion Energy an excellent way to explore your interest in fusion and prepare for a career in this field.

Open afternoons

Join us on-campus or online to learn more about this course. You'll hear from staff and students and have the chance to ask us any questions.

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Women in science

We are the proud holders of an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and an IOP Juno Champion award, recognising of our commitment to gender equality, and women in STEM.

 Institute of Physics - Juno Champion

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Dr Kate Lancaster, expert in inertial confinement fusion, talks about her experiences with really big lasers.

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YPI Labs virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of YPI's laboratories, showing a current experiments and the equipment and facilities available.

Studying under many of the UK's top fusion scientists, as well as eating lunch and chatting freely with them, was exceptionally beneficial for my knowledge. The lectures were incredible, with each course designed to provide you with the most up-to-date fusion physics and engineering, including a particular emphasis on data analysis and computational modelling.
Hamish, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

World-leading tutors

Learn from internationally renowned researchers pushing the boundaries of knowledge in fusion energy

Cutting-edge techniques and facilities

Access to state-of-the-art data analysis techniques and equipment, in purpose-built teaching, research and laboratory spaces

Course content

You'll start your studies with a series of foundation modules covering the essential plasma physics that underpins the main approaches to achieving fusion energy. With this background, you'll learn about both the magnetic and inertial confinement approaches to fusion. These topics are supported by a series of computational and data laboratories which are designed to develop your applied computational and experimental skills.

As part of Semester 2, you will engage in two intensive one-week courses, delivered by visiting expert speakers, covering the technologies and research frontiers of fusion.

The MSc culminates in a major research project where, under the supervision of world-leading physicists at the York Plasma Institute, you will conduct cutting-edge research in fusion or a related area of plasma science.


Core modules

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Research project

Your final project is an open-ended investigation which you'll design, carry out and report on independently. The project will provide an opportunity for creativity and original thought, and will give access to cutting-edge fusion research.

Each project has a specific staff supervisor who will give advice and assistance as needed at regular supervisory meetings. Available projects will vary from year to year, to reflect the interests of our researchers. Recent projects have included:

  • Design and build of critical focal spot monitoring diagnostic for a VULCAN PW laser experiment
  • Designing experiments to control and understand the MAST Upgrade Super-X divertor
  • Statistical analysis of fluctuation fields in a linear plasma device
  • Parametric study of fast electron transport
  • Erupting plasmas: explosive instability and fusion

It is likely that some projects will be based at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (for example, using the MAST tokamak) or the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

There is also potential to undertake a project with industry.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deep knowledge and understanding of key topics at the forefront of plasma science and fusion energy; define how different mathematical, computational and experimental approaches are needed to address specific topics and apply this understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Critically evaluate research literature and data paying attention to the techniques used, and their limitations, to provide reliable or robust conclusions and recommendations and suggest alternative approaches.    
  • Develop and present solutions to complex problems using computational techniques, and make measured judgements about what is the best digital approach for specific problems in plasma science and fusion energy.
  • Plan, develop and execute an open-ended independent scientific investigation in plasma science or fusion energy, applying the appropriate techniques to bring the investigation to a successful conclusion. 
  • Communicate complex ideas associated with fusion science and technology in clear, precise, and accessible terms to a variety of scientific audiences.            
  • Articulate how current research in fusion energy and plasma science impacts on societal issues identifying innovative solutions
What attracted me most to my particular project was the opportunity to do some real hands-on science - that, and actually being able to generate a visible plasma!
Michael, MSc Fusion Energy

Read about more of our students' final projects.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £12,480£29,400
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You will be taught with a combination of lectures, problem classes, and computational and experimental lab sessions. You'll also attend two week-long intensive workshops featuring experts from outside the University, which will develop your wider understanding of fusion energy and provide opportunities to connect with leading researchers.

Teaching location

Most of your teaching will take place in the School of Physics & Engineering Technology and York Plasma Institute on Campus West. The majority of departments, colleges and facilities are based nearby.

Some research projects are based off-site, for example at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed with a mixture of closed- and open-book exams, essays and evaluation of your laboratory work.

The grade for your research project is based on your project notebook and final report. You'll also sit a viva on your final report: an oral exam which is excellent preparation for a research degree.

York Plasma Institute has great facilities, and offers very high-quality teaching and a greatly interactive environment where MSc students can discuss with PhD students and the academic staff.
July, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

Careers and skills

We provide bespoke careers sessions throughout the year to help you maximise your full potential in whatever career you choose.

Many of our students are offered PhD positions following the MSc, in both fusion energy and other subject areas. They go on to doctoral studies at York, Oxford, Imperial, Strathclyde, Durham and Liverpool, among others. Other students go straight into industry, both within fusion, and in a wide array of areas outside of fusion.

Career opportunities

  • Research scientist
  • Software developer
  • Engineer
  • Transport modeller
  • Civil Service
  • Further education lecturer

Transferable skills

  • Research and analysis
  • Scientific computing
  • Time-management
  • Presentation skills
  • Teamwork
  • Data management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:2 or equivalent in Physics or a related discipline.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 169, with no less than 162 in each component
Oxford ELLT 6, minimum of 5 in each component
Duolingo 105, minimum 95 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 65 with a minimum of 60 in each component
KITE 426-458, with 396-425 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Pass with Merit overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 55, minimum 51 in each component
TOEFL 79, minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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School of Physics, Engineering and Technology

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